Special Olympics Young Athletes Program at Crossroads!

August 10, 2023

This spot is where we’ll update you regarding our partnership with Special Olympics Young Athletes.

We are thankful to Ryan Miller at Special Olympics New York for his patience and help throughout the years!

New Pilot Program to Start in 2 Classrooms, September 2023

In Spring, Crossroads was invited to be part of an exclusive pilot program for Special Olympics International, which stems from the manner in which our teachers have conducted and reported on our Special Olympics programming in the past. The pilot utilizes a cross-curricula approach so the actual implementation varies slightly from what we have been doing but is also very similar in many ways.

The new Young Athletes program is an extension of the current curriculum. Whereas the original resource offered 24 lessons, the new materials will provide stakeholders the opportunity to reference 150+ lesson plans. The goal was to enable partners to be able to use the YA program throughout the school year without having to do a substantial amount of work.

2023-24 is the school year that this extension will be piloted, and we have two strong teachers who have stepped up to implement it and give ongoing feedback. Room 3’s Melissa Barnes and Room 4’s McKenzie Hay will run the tri-weekly program and then work with Resource Development Specialist’s Vicki Ramotar to provide input as to what is working and what’s not.

The curriculum was penned by Ashley Leidholt in collaboration with Ryan Miller, Sr. Director of Program, Young Athletes and Elementary, SPECIALOLYMPICS NEW YORK for the planning and review stages. The expanded curriculum will positively impact our students and our teachers through ease of implementation.

Crossroads is extremely grateful to Melissa and McKenzie for taking on a new project, as it will hopefully be offered to all of our classrooms in 2024-25. Crossroads has been partnering with Special Olympics for several years for the following reasons.

  Special OlympicsYoung Athletes Program 

  • The curriculum aligns well with Crossroad’s mission of preparing students for success in their lives, and gives staff wonderful, adapted PE materials and activities to do with students.
  • It ties in with our mission of helping kids be successful – and fit and healthy – in life.
  • This partnership with S.O. will benefit our students and families now and in the future, giving them an important connection and resource as they transition away from Crossroads.
  • The curriculum is full of great adapted sports and physical activities, and following it will give teachers a plan for gym that is researched and easy to implement. Activities can be picked and chosen, shortened and lengthened, and they are created with kids like ours in mind.
  • Partnerships with other respected organizations increases our credibility and public perception as an organization and school.
  • When we complete the training portion, we will be able to get the full kit of materials to use for PE/gym classes, and next spring, we will also get tee-shirts for our students to wear for a culminating activity.
  • The training provides valuable preparation for leading physical education activities with our students.
  • Extensive research showing benefits to children who participate, to families and to peers.
  • It is cost-free for us!
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